PhD in Philosophy
Phenomenology and Value in the McDowell-Dreyfus Debate
My research responds to a debate between Hubert Dreyfus and John McDowell that takes place between 2005 and 2013. The debate concerns the role of concepts in human perceptual experience. Dreyfus draws on phenomenological thinkers such as Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty to argue that concepts play no role in our unreflective skilled engagement with the world. McDowell, motivated by crucial epistemological and metaphysical considerations, insists that concepts must play a pervasive role in our perceptual and active engagement with the world.
I argue that the distinctive character of Dreyfus's phenomenological analyses of unreflective action can nonetheless be accommodated by a conceptualist account of perceptual experience and action. Now, a significant concern of my thesis is the role that phenomenology can continue to play in philosophical accounts of perceptual experience if that role is exhausted by a set of arguments for non-conceptualism. In the closing stages of my thesis, I argue that Dreyfus’s presentation of phenomenology in the debate misses the opportunity to pursue an underlying philosophical point about the role of value in intentional perceptual experience.
Patrick O'Connor, NTU
Neil Turnbull, NTU
Jerome Carroll, UoN
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